Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)


Ms 36, 1904

The New Life in Christ


April 13, 1904 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1115; UL 117.

“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” [Ephesians 2:1-3.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 1

But a change came. You were convicted and converted. Did you then exercise the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, or did you continue to follow the same evil habits and practices that you followed before your conversion? If you were genuinely converted, you turned from all wrong. The mind which has been placed in the control of Christ, and on which He has wrought by His grace, becomes refined, purified, elevated. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 2

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” [Verses 4-7.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 3

Let us consider the representation that God wants us to make before angels and before men. By helpful words, purity of action, and nobility of principle, the Christian is to reveal the value of the righteousness of Christ. He is to live the truth as it is in Jesus. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 4

Without Christ we can do nothing worthy of commendation. “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Verses 8, 9.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 5

Human beings are in continual danger of boasting, of exalting self. Thus they reveal their weakness. There are those who, because they thought that others did not give them credit for the value of their work, have become offended and have acted out their unworthiness. They placed a high estimate on their capabilities, but the result proved their estimate to be wrong. The fruit revealed in their lives is not the fruit that is borne by a good tree. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 6

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Verse 10.] Those who obey these words will not do the works of Satan, causing dissension and strife. They will show what a belief of the truth has done for them. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 7

“Wherefore remember,” Paul says, “that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is made by hands; that at that time”—when the light broke into the darkened chambers of the soul—“ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” [Verses 11-13.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 8

The apostle desired those to whom he was writing to remember that they must reveal in their lives the glorious change wrought in them by Christ’s transforming grace. They were to be lights in the world, by their purified, sanctified characters exerting an influence over and above the influence of satanic agencies. They were ever to remember the words, “Not of yourselves.” [Verse 8.] They could not change their own sinful hearts. And when by their efforts souls were led from the ranks of Satan to take their stand with Christ, they were not to take any credit to themselves for the transformation wrought. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 9

God’s workers today are to remember this. The great change that is seen in the life of a sinner after his conversion is not brought about through any human goodness; therefore all human boasting is entirely out of place. “Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:31.] Let those who are brought to repentance declare that it is only because of the goodness of God that they have been led to Christ. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 10

He who is rich in mercy has imparted to us His grace. Then let praise and thanksgiving ascend to Him, because He has become our Saviour. Let His love, filling our hearts and minds, flow forth from our lives in rich currents of grace. When we were dead in trespasses and sins, He quickened us into spiritual life. He brought grace and pardon, filling the soul with new life. Thus the sinner passes from death to life. He now takes up his new duties. His life becomes true and strong, filled with good works. “Because I live,” Christ said, “ye shall live also.” [John 14:19.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 11

I ask believers to consider the words, “Ye must be born again.” [John 3:7.] Are you living the new life in Christ? Are you doing His work? Are you honoring Him by showing the great advantage there is in standing under His banner? Are you so grateful to Christ for His redeeming love, so faithful and true to Him, that your heart cannot be haughty, selfish, self-centered? Is watching unto prayer a part of your daily life? 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 12

The truly converted man has no time to think and talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God’s witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. This grace is revealed in sound, Christlike principles. His influence shows that he has received the new birth. He realizes that he cannot afford to talk discouragement and unbelief; he cannot afford to be harsh and faultfinding. He has not received orders from God to punish the erring and sinful by heaping abuse upon them. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 13

My brother, my sister, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow beings, lest you lose the sense that you are dedicated to the service of God, and that as a faithful servant, you must keep His highest interests in view. You cannot afford to make a representation that will show to the world that you are a sinner. You are to make a representation that will convince unbelievers that you are a child of God, under the training of the Captain of your salvation, that you may be prepared at any time to go into active service. Your lives are to reveal constant advancement. You have enlisted to fight against Satan’s forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 14

God calls upon His church to awake to their duty, to show themselves loyal and true to the Captain of their salvation. They are to follow His example, learning what it means to be faithful to Him who loves them and who has given them a place in His army. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 15

Not to Destroy, but to Save

Who will now put on the white robe of Christ’s righteousness, which is without spot or wrinkle, so that Satan cannot in derision point to their filthy garments. Keep the soul clean and pure. You have no time to gather up the mistakes of others. Attend to your own mistakes, and make the erring ashamed by your kindly, sympathetic interest in them. A Christian is keenly sensitive to the needs of others, because he realizes that they are Christ’s property. He is ever on the watch for opportunities to help them. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 16

Envy, evil surmising, backbiting, and faultfinding—let these not be named amongst Christ’s disciples. These things are the cause of the present feebleness of the church. We have a perfect pattern, even the life of Christ. It is to be our eager desire to do as He has done, to live as He lived, that others, seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. The Lord’s blessing will rest upon us as we seek to bless others by doing the work that Christ came to this world to teach us how to do. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 17

God gave His only begotten Son to die for a race of rebels, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Why should we not walk and work in the way that God has marked out? Why should any one please the enemy by tearing down another’s work, using the powers God has given him to kill hope and drive souls into discouragement. In every church there are young men and young women who need the help of a strong, compassionate handclasp of a loving, Christlike interest that will not let them go. Let there be an end to bickering over little things. Let unkind speeches go as a hateful, unprofitable thing. Cease to speak words that do no good, and come close to those who have erred. Take hold of them, and draw them to Christ. Tell Satan that he cannot have them; for they are the Saviour’s property. Give Satan no chance to enter our ranks. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 18

“I came not to condemn, but to save,” Christ declared. [Verse 17.] Angels are sent from the heavenly courts, not to destroy, but to watch over and guard imperiled souls, to save the lost, to bring the straying back to the fold. Have you, then, no words from a pitying heart to speak to the lost and straying? Will you let them perish, or will you reach out to them a helping hand? Right around you there are souls that are in danger of perishing. Will you not work for them and pray with them? Will you not draw them to the Saviour with the cords of love? Cease your reproaches, and speak words that will inspire them with faith and courage. Let them see in you a consistent, Christian life. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 19

God’s Message to Us

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery, ... which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 20

“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Ephesians 3:1-3, 5-11.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 21

This is the message that I am commissioned to bear to you. You are to take the words addressed by Paul to the church at Ephesus as if addressed personally to you. By alienation, disunion, and diversity of opinion, Satan has hindered the work outlined in the words of the apostle. Had believers put self out of sight, had they refused to carry out the plans devised by Satan to hinder the work of the Lord, how much further advanced we might now be. For years messages have been sent pointing out the work to be done. But this work has not been accomplished. The members of our churches have stood directly across the path of its advancement, blocking the way by envy, evil surmisings, faultfinding. They have sought the highest place. Commercial business has absorbed the attention and consumed the means that ought to have been given to the proclamation of the message of salvation. Thank God, something has been done, but a thousand times more than has been done might have been done. The enemy brought in a variety of things to occupy the minds of believers; time is fast passing, the work is still undone, and the world is growing worse and worse. And yet in mercy the Spirit of God is still striving with souls. In the name of the Lord, my brethren and sisters, I call upon you to put on the whole armor of God. Some of those who have never heard the reasons of our faith are now to be reached. Many are waiting for a message from God’s Word. Go to them, and tell them where we are standing in the history of this world. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 22

The end is near, and the message contained in the third chapter of Ephesians is the message that I am bidden to give to believers. A worldwide message is to be borne. The situation has been laid open before me. We are now to take hold of God in earnest. The Voice said, “Lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] They are hindering the proclamation of the last message of warning to the world. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 23

Paul carried a burden that we ought now to be carrying. A great work is to be done, and it is to be done in a short time. Oh, how much there is to do, and how many there are who for various reasons are not engaged in God’s work. Satan is devising plans to keep the Lord’s forces out of the field. He does not want people to be aroused to a realization of the swift judgments that are coming upon the world. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 24

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knoweth, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” [Ephesians 3:16-21.] 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 25

These are words of the most solemn import. Do not pass them by as you have many warnings in the past. Do as Paul did, bow before God in humble, reverent prayer. We have lost respect for one another and reverence for God. Let us arouse to an understanding of our true position. God will not be trifled with. He has spoken by judgments in Battle Creek, to arouse those who for years have worked at cross purposes with Him. The destruction of the institutions in Battle Creek were not mere casualties. They were the reproof of God to His people. I entreat those who have, as it were, defied God to His face, no longer to dishonor Him by clinging to your own will and your own way. Let us now take up the work of God intelligently and unitedly, proclaiming as with one voice the message of warning and salvation. Let us heed the word of the Lord, lest coming suddenly He find us unready. There will be no second probation. Now, while it is called today, if we will hear the voice of the Lord, and turn fully to Him, He will have mercy on us and abundantly pardon. 19LtMs, Ms 36, 1904, par. 26